2018 Bison Roundup
ANTELOPE ISLAND STATE PARK – Hosted each year at Antelope Island State Park, the Bison Roundup is a primary tool utilized to help ensure the continued health of one of the nation’s largest and oldest public bison herds. To help people better understand how the bison herd is managed, you can visit Antelope Island State Park the day of the event and experience it first-hand.
Come witness a true Western experience as hundreds of horseback riders round up nearly 700 bison from around the Island and move them north into the holding corrals. Riders begin at 9:00 am from Fielding Garr Ranch and move the herd north. Visitors can watch this event from the east side road, as well as witnessing the final push into the corrals from a viewing area at White Rock Bay. Near the corral area beginning at 10:30 am there will also be music, as well as food for purchase (cash only), educational information and activities. Bring a camp chair or blanket for seating. Typically in the past the Roundup is completed between noon and 3:00 pm but these are wild animals.
Visitors who present a can of non-perishable food at the park gate will also be given 20% off of their entrance fee. All of the food collected will be donated to the local food bank.
Click here to see a map of the viewing areas and the typical roundup route
What happens at the Roundup?
There are two phases to the Bison Roundup. The first phase, which will take place on Saturday, October 27, 2018, is where horse riders round up and push the bison into small herds. The riders then drive the bison into a holding corral where they rest for five days. This rest period helps reduce the animals’ stress levels and allows them to relax; making them more cooperative during the second phase. Public riders are welcome to assist in this phase.
This first phase is a popular event every year and attendees include both local spectators and visitors from around the world.
The second phase begins a week after the roundup, November 1 – 3, 2018. Here, the bison are sorted and separated one at a time to receive their vaccinations. They receive individual health screenings that include checks for pregnancies, parasites, and health issues.
The bison are also given a small external computer chip, which serves as a permanent ID that stores their health information. Once the bison are checked, they are either released back onto the island or kept in the corral where they are later sold in a public auction. Free public tours and media opportunities are available all three days of this phase.
Why are some bison sold at auction?
The manageable herd size for bison on the island is between 500-700 bison, and each year there are between 100-200 calves born into the herd. With no natural predators on the island capable of taking down a bison, it is necessary to artificially reduce the herd size to balance out the food supply.
It is also important to remember that there are other animals – such as pronghorn antelope, bighorn sheep, and mule deer – which also need to be considered when looking at the island’s overall food supply.
By selling excess bison at a public auction, park staff are able to keep the herd within a number the habitat can support. Ideally, the plan calls for a herd size of about 550 bison.
2018 Auction Flyer
2017 Sale Results
2018 Meat Processing
The revenue generated through the bison sale is used in the Wildlife and Habitat Management Program for operating costs, habitat, and bison infrastructure improvement and research. Some funds are also used toward fire protection and weed management.